Kashmiri leadership demands more powers

ISLAMABAD: Political leadership of the Azad Kashmir has rejected the Act 1974 terming it as a document of slavery, and have demanded to return back all those powers to legislative assembly and government of Kashmirwhich were given under Act 1970.

The Kashmiri leadership during a Round Table Conference organized by the Center for Peace and Development reforms (CPDR) has demanded the elimination of Azad and Jammu Kashmir Council, Judicial reforms, Independent Election Commission, Independent, sovereign government and conference has recommended that the series of the appointment of the lenient officials should come to its end.

The leaders of six major parties of the Kashmir participated in the conference including ruling party.

Former president and prime minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan, former president Major retired Sardar Anwar Khan, Former prime minister and PML-N leader Sardar Farooq Haider, MLA Dr, Najeeb Naqi, Jamat-e-Islami AJK chapter Chief Abdul-Rashid Turabi, President Peoples Party Azad Kashmir Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, sitting minister and PPP leader Farzana Yaqoob, former minister Khawaja Farooq, leader of Muslim Conference Sardar Abdul Razzaq Khan, PPP leader Nabila Irshad, Justice retired Basharat Sheikh Chairman CPDR Sheikh Tariq Masood, President CPDR Zulfiqar Abbasi, Senior bureaucrat Akram Sohail, former Ambassador Arif Kamal, and Ayesha Khan from Gilgit-Baltistan addressed to the conference.

These leaders agreed that Azad Jammu Kashmir Council is being cause of discrimination so it should be dissolved and new mechanism should be prepared for resolve the matters with Pakistani government.

Conference recommended that there is a dire need to initiate a serious debate on AJK constitutional status and reforms should be brought in the judicial system likePakistanby constituting a judicial Commission for the appointments of judges.

Conference has recommended that the procedure of appointment of the Election Commissioner should be changed for independent Election Commission in this regard a committee consisting of the government and opposition members should be appointed to nominate the Election Commissioner with consensus.

Former president of AJK Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan said that it is a ground reality the Act 1974 is a so called Law and unfortunately he himself presented that act in the Assembly for approval and later he resigned from the post on opposition of this law.

He said that under this law we loose a large exchequer because Federation deducts the 20 percent of our recovered taxes, adding that I asked former prime minister Shaukat Aziz that why federation deduct this huge money from our tax money than he replied that it is Jagga Tax.

Sardar Sikander demanded the amendment in Act 1974, adding that we can not expect any amendment or other initiative from present government. We have to pressurize government jointly for reforms, he said.

Sardar Sikandar said that AJK council has made a parallel system under which schemes are being given to Azad Kashmir and same kinds of schemes are being given to Abbotabad and Chakwal districts ofPakistan. He said that overseas Pakistanis can invest in Azad Kashmir but government has imposed the ban over investment.

He said that under the eighteenth constitutional amendment the number of ministers has been kept 11 percent, adding that the ministers number in AJK also should be with the same percentage but there is no limitation. Every day new minister coming before the nation, father is taking oath from his daughter, He added.

Meanwhile former president Major retired Sardar Muhammad Anwar Khan said that there is dire need of amendment in Act 1974 and in this regard all politicians have to play their due role. He demanded the series of the appointment of lenient officials should come to end.

Former prime minister Farooq Haider said that Act 1974 is a document of slavery which was drafted for discrimination, adding that the system of AJK can not run smoothly in the presence of the Azad Jammu Kashmir Council. He said that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sent military secretary for get passed the Act 1974.

Farooq said that he met ISI Chief and discussed the matter that Kashmir can be affiliated withPakistanunder the constitutional article 257 and AJK council can be dissolved and other power can be transferred toKashmirgovernment.

He said tat we are loyal to Pakistan but we have no relation with Parliament of Pakistan, adding that we have to get permission from IRSA for getting drinking water from Mangla Dam, although we have no representation in IRSA.

He said that Sindh and Balochistan opposed to provision of water toKashmirfrom Mangla. He announced to table a privet bill in legislative assembly, adding that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani agreed to amend the act 1974 but later refused.

Sardar Khalid Ibrahim addressing to the conference said that there is a movement behind the constitution ofKashmirthat also should be kept in minds and e demanded the powers should be given to AJK government under the Act 1970.

Ameer Jamat-e-Islami Abdul Rashid Turabi said that he presented a bill in Legislative Assembly when he was member of the assembly but unfortunately that series could not be continued. He demanded that AJK council should be dissolved and power should be transferred to AJK government for strengthening the system.

He said that in prevailing situation all responsibility for amendment in Act 1974, comes on shoulders of PPP, Muslim League and Muslim Conference, adding that Parliament of Pakistan has not given MFN status toIndiabut AJK assembly has passed resolutions in favor of MFN status toIndia.

PPP AJK leaders Khawaja Farooq, Nabeela Irshad said that the government of AJK could not use its powers in past, adding that we have to find out the ways within the frame work of the constitution and member of civil society Ayesh Khan demanded that Gilgit-Baltistan should be affiliated with Kashmir Assembly.

The CPDR President and Chairman vowed to continue the series of such kind of conferences in major cities ofKashmirincluding Mirpur, Kotali, RawalaKot and Muzaffarababd. SANA



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